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How to Save Money on Summer Airfare

Summer is nearly here, and along with it comes a long list of travel plans. Whether you’re planning a long weekend at the beach, traveling for wedding weekends with friends or finding time to connect with family around the globe, here are a couple tips for making the most of your travel budget and finding the best flight deals this summer.

  1. Think about which days of the week holidays fall on: Long weekends such as Memorial Day and Labor Day generally mean a spike in fares and long lines at the airport. Try extending your trip for a couple extra days after the holiday to avoid the crowds. Fourth of July falls on a Wednesday this year so weekend trips before and after the holiday is likely to bring similar fare increases. Flying on the day of this holiday can often result in significant fare savings.
  2. Be flexible with your travel dates: If you’re traveling this summer, consider midweek flights rather than focusing your search on Friday and Sunday travel days. You can often save up to 50% on fares by traveling on less popular dates.  
  3. Do your research: To find the best price, take the time to compare multiple airlines. While doing this, it’s important to pay attention to blackout dates when researching air sales. Don't rely only on published sales -- search websites yourself to find unadvertised low fares. To get a complete view of what’s out there, check both airline websites such as American and United as well as online travel agents such as Orbitz and Expedia.
  4. Look beyond your home airport: Flying out of a regional airport may help you save money, and it could even be less crowded on your travel dates. Living in the Bay Area, I always check fares departing from both San Francisco and Oakland. It is always best to compare fares if you have two convenient airports in your area.
  5. See a good fare? Jump on it: The best fares are based on availability, so if you find a good one -- book quickly.

By doing a little extra research, being flexible, and booking your summer airfare as soon as you’ve nailed down your travel plans you’ll find the best deal for your trip.

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Tips by

Deal Expert, San Francisco
Friday, May 4, 2012
See more Tips from
Haifa Sweeny